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A 15-year-old Connecticut boy who committed suicide after his first day of school last week underwent years of bullying and published increasing warning signs on social media before his death.
Bart Palosz of Greenwich was found dead in his bedroom from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Tuesday, just after completing his first day of his sophomore year of high school.
Friends of Bart, a Polish immigrant who stood a towering 6-foot3 and spoke with an accent, now say it was the unrelenting bullying by former classmates that led to his tragic death.
In the eighth grade he was sent to the emergency room for stitches after a bully bashed his head into a metal locker, students who witnessed the claimed attack told the Greenwich Time.
Faculty members called the incident an accident, but refused to share hall security footage allegedly capturing the injury with his family.
In his freshman biology class, his brand-new Android cellphone was seen grabbed by a classmate and smashed on the ground.
lassmates also shoved him into the bushes as he walked to school.
"I would sometimes see him sitting alone at lunch and sometimes it would even be physical," Tripp Woll, a former classmate of Bart's told WFSB. "When you think about all the things he had to go through, day after day, you really do realize that he was going through a lot of hard stuff."
Warnings of his increasing upset from the alleged abuse on his Google+ account were revealed to his family by police last week, however tragically too late.
"Hey if I were to stab my eye out due to school caused insanity, who would miss me?" the teen wrote in July. Uploaded with his threatening words was a picture of him holding a knife up to his eye.
Another post in June suggested he had attempted suicide by swallowing lighter fluid.
"I have chosen to go with 3 peoples advice and kill myself. I just wish it was faster," he wrote to a friend asking if he was OK on June 7.
His older sister, who only a week earlier said goodbye to him when he and their parents dropped her off at college, describes her family as completely blindsided by his distress, though they knew of his history of being bullied.
"We had no idea," Beata, 18, told the Greenwich Time. "He didn't show us any signs. He was going through that teenage age where everything had to be his way. It had to be his way. But it wasn't anything that I didn't go through myself when I was his age."
"I notice if I sound sad I'm normal and if I act happy, cheerful, and 'normal' there is a high chance that I will try to poison myself, cut myself, commit suicide, or jump in front of a truck :)" he wrote on July 9.
As for his school's awareness of the abuse, Beata claims they knew the ongoing trouble he had.
Their parents wrote letters to guidance counselors, school administrators, and had meetings with teachers and principals, she said.
"I honestly do not think the school addressed the bullying," she said. "It could have saved him if they did."
Greenwich Police say the shotgun used in his death was family owned and kept inside a locker in his home.
On Wednesday, school crisis teams met at Greenwich High, Western Middle School and New Lebanon School, all schools Bart attended.
"We are looking very carefully at what has happened over the last number of years here, so we can make sure that all our students going forward do not have to face the kind of decision that Bart made," Superintendent of Schools William McKersie told the Connecticut Post.
In the teen's last Google+ post on Aug. 16, he posted a link to a YouTube video while writing: "Someone make sure if I ever die I get buried listening to this song."
The song, "Reboot" by Miku Hatsune, Luka Megurine and Zimi Samune, now appears as a memorial for the 15-year-old in its comments section.
"Why didn't they ask him to join them, have lunch with him? Just simple human kindness toward another human being," a YouTube commenter wrote Monday. "These students have a lot to learn before they can call themselves adults. And their dreams at night will not be pleasant ones for years to come knowing that they could have avoided this terrible tragedy. Shame on all of you."